Dude that really sucks!Thanks Simon, your post prompted me to update this thread.
I received the equipment a couple of weeks ago and am heading up to the property this weekend to spark it up!
Unfortunately, despite my best efforts, I still got completely f&#cked by the shipping agent. It ended up costing me about $5,900 to get the equipment from the Sydney port to my place 90mins north...
You can read the full story here: http://buckettys.com.au/pirates-getting-screwed-shipping-industry/
I have recently ordered some stuff from the land of China and despite the manufacturer telling me that shipping was "free" I was doubtful. I was also put off by how pushy they got when I said I would investigate my own freight options. I was lucky enough to have worked with a company who only deal with importing things on a project recently at work. I contacted them and mentioned I had been offered something too good to be true and wanted a comparison quote. The Aussie quote was a lot more but he then proceeded to explain how these "pirates" are all linked to the stainless manufacturers in China. The manufacturer gets to sprook free shipping(and get a kickback) and the "pirates" get paid because you don't know about their fees until your goods land and you're already too far committed. In fact you don't even know they are a link in the chain till the goods land.
The company I went with provided an estimate inc all freight and duty(plus the other 20 random fees) and their only stipulation was that if it gets called into customs for a random search there is a fee of a few hundred bux.
I went the Aussie option for piece of mind and to have a reliable contact in OZ. Mind you the freight component of the purchase makes up around 30% of the total cost. I'm happy to share the contact if anyone else is planning to bring stuff in. Will wait until end of Feb however once it's all landed to fully endorse but so far they have been great and very informative.